Who we are
Highlighting Artistic Ideas & Values
The internationale tanzmesse nrw is organised by nrw landesbuero tanz and is the largest professional meeting for contemporary dance. As a forum for exchange, knowledge transfer and networking, the Tanzmesse is an important meeting place for international dance creators. Every two years at the end of August, up to 2,000 international exhibitors and visitors come together in Düsseldorf to present a broad spectrum of aesthetic expression and artistic practices.
From expo to marketplace of ideas
Founded in 1994 as Tanzmesse NRW, the international tanzmesse nrw concentrated primarily on the marketing and distribution of dance productions in its founding years. In the years that followed, it developed into the most important international meeting place for contemporary dance. Today, the focus is on networking between dance professionals and the exchange of knowledge.
The three sections Agora, Talk & Connect and the Performance Programme make up the international tanzmesse nrw.
Next edition: 31 August to 3 September 2022
The Meeting: Agora, Talk & Connect and Performance Programme
The Agora in the exhibition halls of the NRW Forum are the hub of internationale tanzmesse nrw. Companies, artists, institutions, and organisations will present themselves here. The Agora functions as a meeting place for dance professionals and is the place where guest performances are arranged, cooperation are initiated, and new projects emerge. In the openly designed Areas and Networking Islands, exhibitors can present their work and make new contacts. The Agora creates diverse encounters at eye level.
In Open Studios and Pitchings, artists and dance professionals will give an insight into their artistic productions, working methods, plans and project ideas.
The Talk & Connect discourse programme offers space for knowledge transfer and discussion between dance professionals. Here, current social issues are explored, and dialogue is initiated about the values of the global dance community. In addition to classic formats such as keynotes and panels, new discussion formats will be tried out in which the participants meet as experts in their field.
In the Performance Programme of the internationale tanzmesse nrw, artists will present selected works on stage, outdoors and digitally to international visitors and a dance-loving public. This also includes intergenerational works aimed at a cross-generational (professional) audience.
The selection of the performance programme as well as the Open Studios and Pitches will be made by the four associate curators Natacha Melo (Montevideo/Uruguay), Julia Asperska (Poznan/Poland), Dan Daw (London/UK) and Quito Tembe (Maputo/Mozambique) together with the Co-Directors of the internationale tanzmesse nrw.
nrw landesbuero tanz
The organiser of the internationale tanzmesse nrw is the nrw landesbuero tanz headed by Managing Director Heike Lehmke. The nrw landesbuero tanz is an information and advisory centre for dance professionals in North Rhine-Westphalia. It provides information about current dance activities, is involved with formats for further education and qualification and promotes both intergenerational and international exchange with its dance education and Tanzmesse departments.
The nrw landesbuero tanz organises, among others, the biennial internationale tanzmesse nrw and "Dynamo - junge Tanzplattform NRW", "180° Drehung" as well as the "Festival tanz nrw aktuell" in cooperation with the Tanzproduzenten-Konferenz NRW as a joint organiser.
North Rhine-Westphalia – Home of Dance
The internationale tanzmesse nrw takes place in Düsseldorf, the capital of the region of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), and in surrounding cities. NRW is Germany's most populous region, and its diverse dance scene is built on a long tradition. The nationally unique structure for contemporary dance is characterised by international networking. Lighthouse institutions are the future Pina Bausch Centre in Wuppertal, PACT Zollverein and Folkwang University in Essen, the German Dance Archive Cologne, the Centre for Contemporary Dance (ZZT) and the nrw landesbuero tanz in Cologne as well as the tanzhaus nrw and the internationale tanzmesse nrw in Düsseldorf. In addition to the ten companies of the municipal theatres, NRW has a strong independent dance scene as well as exemplary projects in the field of dance education and young dance.
Founded under the name "Tanzmesse NRW", the now renowned meeting first took place in Essen in 1994 under the direction of initiator Anne Neumann-Schultheis. The Tanzmesse was initiated by the Society for Contemporary Dance (GZT NRW) as a "showcase for dance in NRW" and quickly developed into an international networking event for dance. After three editions at the Zeche Zollverein (1994, 1997, 2000), the internationale tanzmesse nrw was held for the first time in 2002 and from this edition onwards biennially in Düsseldorf. With the move to Düsseldorf, Kajo Nelles took over the management of the Tanzmesse. Together with the Tanzmesse's long-time companion and pioneer of the event's international appeal, Carolelinda Dickey, he has ensured the event's rapid growth and prominence. Under his leadership and with his team of advisors and curators, Roman Arndt, Carolelinda Dickey and Christian Watty, sustainable networks with dance practitioners in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America were created. The 2014 and 2016 editions under the direction of Felix Wittek focused more on the idea of exchange and networking as well as the expansion of international cooperation among the participants. Like his successor Dieter Jaenicke (2018 & 2020 editions), he also focused on the inclusion of further dance creators from Australia, South America, and Africa. In 2020, due to the Corona pandemic, the internationale tanzmesse nrw took place as a one-day online event.